Open Standards

LibreOffice 7.3 to support Klingon

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The forthcoming point release of LibreOffice, the free and open source office suite, will feature support for two constructed languages – Klingon and InterslavicNeowin reports. TDF logo

Klingon insigniaKlingon is of course well known to lovers of the US science fiction Star Trek media franchise created by Gene Roddenberry as the language of the alien race of the same name and created by US linguist Mark Okrand, actor James Doohan (who played chief engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott. Ed.) and scriptwriter and producer Jon Povill.

The Klingon language is first mentioned in the original Star Trek series episode “The Trouble with Tribbles” (1967), but is not heard until 1979 in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Interslavic flagInterslavic is a pan-Slavic auxiliary language whose purpose is to facilitate communication between people from different Slavic nations, as well as allowing those who do not know any Slavic language to communicate with Slavs by being understandable to most, if not all Slavic speakers without them having to learn the language themselves.

When it comes to classification, Interslavic can be described as a semi-constructed language, being in essence a modern continuation of Old Church Slavonic, but it also draws on the various improvised language forms Slavs have been using for centuries to communicate with Slavs of other nationalities.

These are not the first constructed languages for which there is support in LibreOffice. Esperanto is already catered for in the form of a LibreOffice Esperanto extension which provides a spellchecker and hyphenation.

Commenting on the support for Klingon, The Document Foundation remarked:

Even if Klingon and Interslavic support sounds like a novelty, it shows how versatile free and open source software is. As mentioned, LibreOffice is available in over 100 languages, and we’d like to expand that even further. The more languages the better, especially if we can help to boost IT skills in places which don’t otherwise have software in their native languages!

The LibreOffice wiki provides a full list of languages supported by the office suite.

Digital Markets Act: Device Neutrality finally becomes a reality

EU flagAfter many iterations and amendments, the European Parliament adopted the Digital Markets Act (DMA) by 642 votes in favour, 8 votes against and 46 abstentions, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) reports.

The Act introduced the principle of Device Neutrality. At the same time, the Parliament missed the chance to introduce strict interoperability requirements based on Open Standards.

The FSFE has urged EU legislators to safeguard Device Neutrality in the DMA. We regret the voting has not contemplated setting Open Standards as default to define interoperability. However, getting Device Neutrality in the legislation is the first step. The right for end users to use their own devices and operating systems is an important factor to guarantee the access of free software operating systems to dominant platforms. As a daily reality for many users, this option enlarges the audience for free software adoption.

Lucas Lasota, the FSFE’s Deputy Legal Co-ordinator, remarked as follows:

We strongly believe the digital markets will benefit by facilitating access to Free Software in devices. Device Neutrality translates in the DMA as stricter consent rules for pre-installed apps, safeguards against vendor lock-in and real-time data portability. Interoperability of services was also introduced, but not with the requirement to be based on Open Standards. This is a lost chance to leverage competition with accessible and non-discriminatory technical specifications. Open Standards are an important element for innovation by allowing market actors to innovate on top of technical specification standards and build their own services.

The FSFE has been working for two decades empowering people to control the technology in their devices. It will closely follow the implementation of the Act and continue its activities and initiatives to safeguard the interests of end users.

LibreOffice 2021 Conference details announced

Italo Vignoli has posted details of the 2021 LibreOffice Conference (which will take place online. Ed.) on the Document Foundation’s blog.

LibreOffice Conference 2021 logoThis year’s LibreOffice Conference will open at noon CEST on 23rd September and will conclude at 5:30p.m. CEST on 25th September.

The conference schedule has been finalised and is now available. Of course, there may last minute changes until 12th September when the schedule will be frozen. Sometime after that date the schedule will also be available on Android mobiles

People attending the LibreOffice Conference via Jitsi are asked to register by filling in this form. Registration will enable the conference organisers to manage conference sessions in the best way and provide a better experience than in 2020 (when a couple of unwelcome “guests” tried to spoil the event). LibreOffice advocates and conference attendees can support the event by purchasing LibreOffice Conference merchandise from Freewear.

In addition to the Document Foundation blog, conference announcements will be posted on two Telegram groups – LibreOffice Virtual Conference Announcements (https://t.me/LibOcon) and LibreOffice Virtual Conference (https://t.me/liboconvirtual), as well as the dedicated LibreOffice Conference website.

Happy 20th birthday, FSFE!

FSFE logoWay back in 2001, the prescient souls who established the Free Software Foundation Europe foresaw that people should be in control of technology and not vice versa.

Twenty years down the road the FSFE is concentrating its daily work on three main pillars to help software freedom thrive in Europe: public awareness, policy advocacy, and legal support.

FSFE 20th anniversary graphic

The FSFE has had some major campaign successes over its 2 decades.

For instance there was the campaign to promote free software PDF readers, which encouraged over 2,000 European public sector organisations to remove links for Adobe’s proprietary Acrobat reader from their websites.

A major current FSFE campaign is Public Money, Public Code, an initiative to ensure that publicly financed software developed for the public sector be made publicly available under a Free and Open Source Software licence. If it is public money, it should be public code as well. Code paid by the people should be available to the people!

Finally here’s FSFE President Matthias Kirschner speaking to the openSUSE Virtual Conference 2021 about two decades of the FSFE.

https://fsfe.org/news/2021/news-20210721-01.en.html

Many happy returns, FSFE. Keep up the good work for the good of all.

ODF 1.3 becomes OASIS standard

ODF file iconVersion 1.3 of OpenDocument Format for Office Applications (ODF) has been approved as an OASIS Committee Standard, Italo Vignoli writes on The Document Foundation (TDF) blog.

ODF is a free, open XML-based document file format for office applications for use for documents containing text, spreadsheets, charts and graphical elements. In addition,ODF is the native file format used by TDF’s free and open source LibreOffice productivity suite, as well as other free and open source suites such as Apache OpenOffice, whilst the format can also be handled by major proprietary office suites. Furthermore, ODF has been adopted by the UK government’s Open Standards Board for document exchange with citizens and other victims.

ODF 1.3 is an update to the international standard Version 1.2, which was approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as ISO/IEC 26300 (2015). The update was approved with 14 affirmative consents and no objections.

The most important new features of ODF 1.3 include digital signatures for documents and the OpenPGP-based encryption of XML documents, with improvements in areas such as change tracking and document security, additional details in the description of elements in first pages, text, numbers and charts.

The full ODF 1.3 Specification can be downloaded from OASIS website.

The new version of ODF has been funded by TDF.

Finally, it is hoped that the new ODF 1.3 will complete the process to update its existing ISO/IEC standard 26300 in early 2022.

France – the state of open source

CNLL logo

In France the Conseil National des logiciel libres (CNLL – National Free Software Council) has just published its 2020/2021 survey (PDF) into free and open source software in France.

The report’s findings can be summarised as follows.

Free and open source companies are typically micro-businesses (59%) and SMEs (35.1%). They are generally well established youngish businesses with an average age of 11.5 years. They have a very varied customer base in all sectors and exports account for over 20% of their turnover, as opposed to 16.7% in the digital sector.

Besides service activities, there has been a move from solutions-based financial models (invoicing for use, sale of licences) whereas 57.1% are software producers, playing a vital ecosystem role.

During the Covid crisis, the majority (64.6%) of companies reported stable or increasing activities, with 82.8% of managers saying they were confident about the future of their companies and 61.1% seeking to recruit staff. However, 53.7% are worried about the French economy over the long term, particularly as regards the durability of B2B customers.

Although it has been recommended by the Secretariat-General for National Defence and Security (SGDSN) to reassert digital sovereignty, only 29.3% of respondents think that France is implementing an open source industrial strategy to counter the Big Tech companies and 64.6% of them believe the powers that be are not giving sufficient encouragement to open source as provided for by law, particularly in respect of public sector procurement.

Plus de 80% des entreprises sont déjà engagées dans une démarche éthique libre et responsable vis-à-vis de critères spécifiques : la moitié d’entre elles a déjà formalisé de tels engagements et l’autre se déclare prête à le faire.

Businesses are very involved in the ecosystem and contribute to more than 35 organisations. Furthermore, 9.7% report that their region has an open source-based digital strategy which has tangible results, albeit with marked regional disparties.

LibreOffice 7.0.6 released

The Document Foundation (TDF), the German non-profit organisation behind the free and open source LibreOffice productivity suite, has today announced the release of LibreOffice 7.0.6, the slightly less bleeding edge version of the suite intended for enterprise deployments and more conservative users.

LibreOffice 7.0.6 is the sixth minor release of the LibreOffice 7.0 family and is available for immediate download.

According to the LibreOffice Twitter account, this new release contains over 50 bug fixes. TDF also states this will be the final release of the 7.0 branch, with development efforts being concentrated henceforth on maintaining the 7.1 branch and working towards readying LibreOffice 7.2 for release.

LibreOffice 7.0 bannerFor commerical deployments, TDF strongly recommends seeking support from its partners so as to obtain long-term supported releases, dedicated assistance, custom new features and other benefits such as SLAs.

Anyone who’s willing to contribute their time and professional skills to LibreOffice is advised to visit the dedicated supporters’ website.

Finally, all LibreOffice users, free software advocates and community members are invited to make a donation to support The Document Foundation.

Brazilian Portuguese LibreOffice guide now available

Last week The Document Foundation blog announced the release of the LibreOffice 7.0 Getting Started Guide in Brazilian Portuguese. This new guide is based on the English language guide released last month (posts passim).

Cover of Brazilian Portuguese LibreOffice guide

In fact the Brazilian Portuguese guide is based on the English version. Its basis was a machine translation of the English guide which was then revised by members of the LibreOffice Brazilian community. Future editions of the Getting Started Guide will be done without translation, but by writing directly in Portuguese about new features in LibreOffice and information about the suite.

Like its English counterpart, the Brazilian Portuguese Getting Started Guide outlines the development of LibreOffice and introduces each of its modules: spreadsheets (Calc), presentations (Impress), vector drawings (Draw), text processing (Writer), equations (Maths) and databases (Base). In addition to these modules, there are several chapters describing important concepts common to all modules such as styles, printing, electronic signing, macros, exporting in various formats, redacting and document classification.

Contributors to the new guide were Vera Cavalcante, Jackson Cavalcanti Jr., Timothy Brennan Jr., Flávio Schefer, Felipe Viggiano, Raul Pacheco da Silva, Túlio Macedo and Olivier Hallot.

The new Brazilian Portuguese LibreOffice 7.0 Getting Started Guide can be downloaded in PDF format.

In addition to the new guide, the Brazilian LibreOffice Community also produces its own LibreOffice magazine.

Dortmund adopts free software policy

Phoenixsee, Dortmund. Image courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsDortmund’s city council has paved the way for “Public Money? Public Code!” In the future, software developed or commissioned by the administration will be made available to the general public, the Free Software Federation Europe (FSFE) reports.

Back in February, the city council approved a motion previously submitted by the SPD, Bündnis90/Die Grünen, CDU, Die Linke+ and FDP/Bürgerliste. In the future, Free Software is to be used wherever possible and software developed or commissioned for development by the administration is to be made available to the general public.

Matthias Kirschner, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe states: “We are happy that the DO-FOSS initiative was able to convince the city of Dortmund of the principle of “Public Money? Public Code”. Free Software gives everyone the right to use, study, share and improve software for any purpose. These freedoms also benefit administrations. Public administrations that follow this principle can benefit from numerous advantages: Collaboration with other government agencies, independence from individual vendors, potential tax savings, innovation and a more solid basis for IT security. The Council’s decision means that there is now the political backing to gradually break down dependencies on proprietary vendors. We will accompany the implementation and at the same time call on other administrations in Germany and Europe to follow Dortmund’s example.

LibreOffice 7.1.1 released

Towards the end of last week The Document Foundation (TDF) announced the release of LibreOffice 7.1.1, the first point release of LibreOffice 7.1, which is available for immediate download.

This release over contains 90 bug fixes and improvements to document compatibility.

LibreOffice 7.1 banner

As usual, TDF suggests that this release is aimed at technology enthusiasts and power users, rather than more conservative business users for whom an older release is recommended.

This latest release is available for all major desktop operating systems (Linux, MacOS and Windows), mobile platforms (Android and iOS) and the cloud. Instead of downloading via the link above, Linux users might like to wait until the update is provided directly via the repositories of their individual distributions, whilst those for mobile devices can be obtained via the app stores for their respective operating systems.

TDF’s wiki charts the changes and improvements in the latest release via the changes made in the two release candidates: RC1 and RC2.

LibreOffice users are invited to join the community so they can both get and provide individual support. Those willing to contribute their time and professional skills to the project can visit the dedicated What Can I Do For LibreOffice website.

Finally, LibreOffice users, free software advocates and community members can give financial assistance to The Document Foundation with a donation via PayPal, credit card or other means.

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